Sunday, July 08, 2012

Best stove for pike fishing in the Fens..?

This is clearly not an accessory for the roving angler, but if you're fishing out of the car or on a boat it's the dog's bollocks.

You can make tea on it, like most stoves. Or coffee if you prefer. Where it comes into its own is you can get a brew on while you're cooking, because it's got two burners - or cook more ambitious meals, requiring the use of two pans.

I once went zander fishing with a chef who made an ambitious curry with all the trimmings from scratch using one of these.

If you're more inclined to rely on tins and boil-in-the-bag fare, you can do just as well with curries, chillies and some nifty things with pasta - not to mention some impressive fry-ups, like the pommes sautes, avec saucisson and whatever the french is for bacon above.

None of this means you'll catch any more pike, of course. But there's nothing like a decent scoff when it comes to a morale booster when mobility's not the order of the day.

The stove's a Coleman duel-fuel twin burner. It comes in a metal case, which eventually goes rusty and smells like a sumo wrestler's jockstrap if you don't give it the occasional clean. You can run them on unleaded from the garage, or Coleman fuel - a refined white petrol, without the additives - which costs around £6.99 a litre.

A tank-full or either lasts me three or four trips. One of the great things about these stoves is that once you familiarise yourself with how to light them - pump prime it with the plunger, turn it, lift the lighting lever, get it going, leave it until the flame goes blue before lowering the lever etc - they'll keep going no matter how cold or windy it is.

Read the camping forums and these things are the Marmite of stoves. Some reckon if you run them on unleaded, the fine jet at the end of the nozzle gets blocked and the pump washer eventually corrodes. I get around this by alternating fuel - run it on unleaded for a few tankfulls, then buy a bottle of Coleman fuel, which has a rust inhibitor, and run it on that.

You get a special filter funnel with them, which has a gauze to trap any bits of grit or muck from the fuel, which might find their way into the nozzle. This is quite important, as the nozzle shoots a fine jet of petrol into an expansion chamber, where it mixes with air. Once the burner's lit, this is heated and the jet from the nozzle becomes a mixture of air and vapour, which burns a lot hotter, with a blue flame. So if the jet gets blocked, it all goes pear-shaped.

The first ring burns a lot hotter than the second, which is for simmering on - or warming through a couple of cans of chilli, meatballs etc; while you boil the rice or pasta on the hotter main ring.

You can still get the stoves for under £100 if you shop around. This might seem a lot, but they should last for several seasons if you look after them - Coleman also do spare pump assemblies, spare fuel pipe nozzle things etc.

Fire steels are a lot better than matches for lighting them - click here for a bit about them.

And click here for more reviews.

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